For Immediate Release
U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Re-Write of Constitution in Evenwel Redistricting Case
WASHINGTON - Statement by Common Cause President Miles Rapoport
“Today’s decision affirms one of our most fundamental values as Americans: that every person counts. We now turn our attention to the states to monitor and combat any effort to deprive millions of young people, non-citizen residents, and other non-voters of constitutional protections. Our nation’s charter begins with the words ‘We the People;’ that means everyone – not just those who vote – is entitled to equal representation at every level of government.”
Statement by Kathay Feng, Common Cause National Redistricting Director
“Common Cause joined cities and counties across the country – from Los Angeles, CA to South Bend, IN to Atlanta, GA – to argue that everyone – young, old, city-dwellers and small town residents – deserves equal representation when it comes to providing police, fire, schools, and other services. We don’t deny children police protection because they are not registered to vote, so why would we deny fair representation based on who is registered and who is not?”
The Supreme Court voted 8-0 today in Evenwel v. Abbott to allow – but not require -- states to count every resident when reshaping state legislative districts after each census. The plaintiffs urged the court to declare that the Constitution requires that states fashion districts based on their number of voters, a change would have left communities with large concentrations of non-voters – such as the young and non-citizen residents - severely underrepresented in state legislatures. Taxpayer dollars for things like schools and roads now flow to districts based on their total population, not just their eligible-to-vote counts; if districts were drawn based only on eligible voters, millions of lawful permanent residents and everyone under age 18 could be left out. That means that vital public services used by everyone – like schools, fire and police protection, and roads – would be spread unevenly, with the largest share of money going to areas with a higher voting age population.
Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.